When couples begin a divorce process, they have many questions. During this time of transition everyone needs support to navigate the process as it unfolds. You need support while you are making temporary plans for your children and yourself.
If you have a relationship with your own therapist you may wonder how a separate Coach can be needed or helpful. After all, your therapist already knows you, and perhaps also your spouse. Why hire and pay for another mental health professional? Here are some reasons why it is not a good idea for your therapist to take on a dual role:
- Your relationship with your therapist needs to be private to be effective. Therapy provides a place for your personal discussions and reflections on your experience. Thoughts and feelings arise and change in the course of therapy, and one benefit of a confidential relationship with your therapist is that you have the time to sort through your feelings with care, respect and in private.
- Divorce Coaching provides you with emotional support to help you function at your best while you are making decisions, temporary and permanent, about your family. You will also be thinking through your hopes, goals, concerns, and fears. Coaching is much more focused than therapy.
- Collaborative divorce is transparent, and the professionals work together for the benefit of your entire family. To be effective, you will give permission to your coach to speak and coordinate with your attorney, your spouse’s coach and attorney, as well as any other professionals on your team. This is extremely helpful and makes the divorce process more efficient. When the professionals understand more fully who you are and what is important to you, it will be easier to reach resolutions that respect your concerns as well as those of your spouse or children.
- Since most divorcing couples have great difficulty with communication, your Divorce Coaches work with you and your spouse to prepare for meetings. Coaching can help you find your “voice” to communicate more effectively what matters to you—even if you have not been able to do that before.
- One of the most important tasks in a divorce is creating a Parenting Plan. Your coaches will help you and your spouse consider the various issues about which you will need to make important decisions, and they will draft your parenting plan as you and your spouse make agreements together. They can also assist you and your spouse in creating a co-parenting agreement that will best benefit your children, reduce or eliminate conflict, and help your family move on into the next chapter of your family’s life.
Elizabeth Salin, MFT, is a family therapist, Divorce Coach and Child Specialist in Marin County.
photo credit: Ann Buscho, Ph.D.